by The Associated Press
Target Corp. is suing a San Diego pro-gay marriage group to get it to stop canvassing outside its San Diego County stores, alleging its activists are driving away customers.
Rights advocates say the trial between Target and Canvass For A Cause that begins Friday could further strain relations with the gay and lesbian community after controversy over its $150,000 donation to a business group backing a Minnesota Republican candidate opposed to gay marriage.
Minnesota-based Target insists it remains committed to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and its lawsuit has nothing to do with the political agenda of the organization.
“Our legal action was in no way related to the cause of the organization and was done so to be consistent with our long-standing policy of providing a distraction-free shopping experience by not permitting solicitors at our stores,” the company said in a statement sent to The Associated Press.
Target says it has taken similar action against a number of organizations representing a variety of causes. It alleges in the lawsuit that the San Diego group’s activists harass customers by cornering them near its stores’ front entrances and debating with them about their views on gay marriage.
The group says it canvasses at shopping malls, college campus and stores like Target to collect signatures and donations in support of gay marriage.
The corporation says at least eight Target stores in the area have reported receiving more than a dozen complaints daily since canvassers started working outside their stores in October 2010. Target says the activists have refused to leave when asked politely and shown the company’s policy prohibiting “expressive activity” on its property.
Continue reading at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=134845091